September 2020 Update

  • Message from the Interim Director

    Dr. Deborah JohnsonDr. Deborah Johnson, interim director & director of MSU’s Diversity Research Network

    As we begin the semester, I note that our adaptability to change is being tested. The pandemic environment ensures some uncertainty in our daily transactions.  Our ability to embrace “both/and” experiences, seemingly at odds with one another, will present additional challenges but also create new resiliencies. As conversations about our identities and injustices advance, we may see unrest and disagree on the most fundamental social principles.  Our obligation in these times remains to engage in generous listening and dialogue that build inclusive communities, hold ourselves accountable to contribute healthily to equitable action, and support a campus climate that allows us all to breathe freely. 

    We are here to help. Our education and development team are already providing training and recruiting for our full complement of programs and workshops. In the next few weeks, new modules on implicit bias will be available online, further complementing the faculty/staff MSU dialogues on race and the student dialogues on race and religion.  Our outreach activities are ramping up for the Fall semester, we will “meet and greet” at this year’s virtual CoREM event for new faculty and staff of color, as well as the Diversity Research Networks’ information and networking session in October.  And we continue to promote inclusive hiring practices while also providing a robust Affirmative Action program. 

    Finally, we are delighted to welcome two new faces to the I3 team, Dr. Shondra Marshall, DRN Program Coordinator and Dr. Samuel Saldivar III, Multicultural Education Coordinator.  Wishing the MSU community a safe, productive and culturally rich semester.

  • Meet Dr. Samuel Saldivar

    Photo of Samuel Saldívar III, Ph.D., Multicultural Education Coordinator for the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural InitiativesWe are very pleased to announce that Dr. Samuel Saldívar has the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives as Multicultural Educational Coordinator and will begin his work in early September 2020. Dr. Saldívar brings a wealth of experience creating meaningful educational experiences for a variety of audiences.

    Samuel has been an educator since 2009. He earned a dual major Ph.D. in Chicano/Latino Studies and English Literature from Michigan State University. He earned his bachelor’s and Master of Arts in Latinx Literature with a Latinx Studies graduate certification from The Ohio State University. His areas of specialization include Latinx Narrative Studies that include literature, film, television, and Comix. Samuel is especially interested in how stories are put together, and how these narratives, in turn, impact our personal, social, and academic communities in positive and negative ways.  

    Dr. Saldívar will be working with the Education team and the I3 office to address the numerous requests for learning opportunities across the spectrum of diversity, equity and inclusion areas that we all engage in. We particularly look forward to his use of stories to enhance meaning and understanding across difference and appreciate the energy and passion he brings to this role. Please join me in welcoming him to the team, as well as the network of professionals working in these spaces across the institution!

  • Supporting Difficult Conversations Across Campus

    by Patti Stewart


    Image of representative slides from the facilitator training - Important Facilitation Practices, Comparison of Inquiry Types, Asking Good Questions

    As part of a recent collaboration with the Institutional Diversity: Excellence in Action (IDEA) Coordinators, we have developed a program that supports the increasing demand for facilitators who can guide the many challenging conversations that need to be addressed across the institution.  Today we are faced with a complicated blend of issues stemming from current and emerging events, as well as long standing challenges that we need to talk about in order to create an MSU community where all members feel welcome and that this is a place in which they can succeed. In order to get to that place, effective communication, building greater understanding and strengthening relationships are key elements to focus on. 

    To build capacity around these necessary conversations, we offered a seven-hour interactive facilitator’s training over August 21 and 22 based on the intergroup dialogue model used in MSU Dialogues. A cohort of 32 individuals representing various roles and disciplines across campus engaged in this opportunity.  These individuals will be listed as facilitators who are willing and able to assist with these important conversations when there is need.

    For more information about this collaborative program, the list of available facilitators,  helpful resources for productive conversations, and future opportunities to participate in training, please visit:

  • The Understanding Implicit Bias Certificate Series Moves Online

    by Patti Stewart

    Acknowledging the continued need and interest for education around understanding bias and its impact on individuals and the communities we are engaged in, the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives has been considering ways to offer the popular, Understanding Implicit Bias Certificate series, to a broader audience. Prior to Spring 2020, the certificate series was offered exclusively as a face-to-face experience, because this format more easily enables personal connections and creates a physical space to have critical, often difficult conversations. 

    Urged by the conditions of the pandemic, the Education Team has been actively working to pivot this important program to a meaningful online experience that continues to allow for deeper understanding and community building, while also addressing important content and creating opportunities for engagement and practice with these essential concepts and skills. Dr. Ben Reese, who has worked with us over the last year to deliver the in-person program, as well as other programs, has also graciously shared his expertise in developing the new modules and is featured in two of the pre-recorded segments. We are excited to share that beginning in October, the new online program will be available for individuals through our continued partnership with MSU Human Resources or to groups and units who wish to work through the program as their own cohort. 

    This new online offering will include both asynchronous and synchronous components, divided into five modules. The original in-person version of the program requires roughly 12 hours to complete the entire experience, so the online version is designed to mirror a similar time commitment, with activities that participants complete on their own, as well as time to come together and discuss the module topics. Sample topics include; Systemic Racism in the US Context, Inclusive Environments, aspects of identity, and Implicit Bias & Microaggressions.

    In addition to pre-recorded segments, participants are asked to explore various articles, videos and other resources, participate in reflective activities, and engage in synchronous online discussions.

    For more information, please visit this page:

  • The MSU Dialogues Fall 2020 Registration is Officially Open!

    What is MSU Dialogues?

    MSU Dialogues is an 8-week intergroup dialogue experience for MSU students, faculty, and staff. Based on your availability, you will be placed in a group who you will meet with each week for 1.5 hours. Throughout the semester, you will engage in dialogue with people from a wide range of identities and backgrounds, learn about historical and present day social injustice, and collectively explore ways of working toward greater equity and inclusion. For faculty/staff, MSU Dialogues is a fantastic opportunity for you to learn how you can further your capacity to create inclusive, equitable spaces at MSU.


    MSU Dialogues offers you the opportunity to:

    • Build relationships across differences of race, gender, ethnicity, ability, class, nationality, and additional identities
    • Learn about your own identities
    • Create positive change in your community and beyond
    • Develop and strengthen your capacity to create inclusive and equitable environments
    • Join the community of 400+ students, faculty and staff who have participated in the program since its inception two years ago
    • Helps to strengthen connections to more inclusive teaching practice that enhances the learning experience

    Program details:

    • Student AND faculty/staff dialogues will meet ONLINE via Zoom for 8 weeks, 90 minutes each week. Dialogues are offered at a variety of times throughout the week, so there is likely a time that fits in your schedule!
    • Undergraduate and graduate students have the option to choose between participating in a dialogue focused on race or religion.  We will also offer one race dialogue for graduate students and one race dialogue for first year students.
    • All faculty dialogues will focus on race

    For more information on the program, click here.

    Please do not hesitate to reach out to or if you have any questions!

  • Introducing Shondra L Marshall, PhD

    Photo of Shondra L. Marshall, Ph.D., Program Coordinator for the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

    Shondra L. Marshall is the Program Coordinator for the Diversity Research Network (DRN) and joined I3 in late April 2020. Through her experience with research, interest in diversity and inclusion and commitment to equitable leadership practices align with the DRN’s advancement of faculty of color and scholars interested in research among diverse communities.  In 2019, Marshall completed her Ph.D. at Eastern Michigan University in Educational Studies with an Urban Education focus.  Her research examined a place-based teacher preparation program. While completing her doctoral studies she became the recipient of the King Chavez Parks Fellowship for future faculty and policy makers. 

     Marshall current research efforts focus on exploring racial socialization and parental influences of African American students.  Marshall is a two-time alum from Michigan State University and earned her M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum and B.S. in Retail Management (Business Cognate). Marshall is committed to community engagement and serves on several boards including: Transformation GEMS; Lansing CommUnity Development, and MSU Black Alumni Inc